A guide to moving plants effectively

Plants are usually not covered by mover insurance, so packing your plants involves some planning - but the effort will be worth it. Not only will your plants arrive in the best condition, but they'll instantly add brightness and homeliness to your new home.

 

What to do before you move

  • Check quarantine restrictions if you are moving interstate to be sure you are allowed to take the plants with you.
  • Maintain the good health of your plants in the weeks leading up to your move so they will be strong and healthy enough to weather the change.
  • Save good sturdy boxes and line with plastic sheeting. These will be used on the day of your move.
  • Prune potted plants, except succulents and ferns, 2 weeks before your move so that they will not break off or become "straggly" in the move.
  • If necessary, re-pot plants into non-breakable plastic containers and treat them for pests about a week before the move.
  • If you plan to move large stone, earthenware or concrete pots, carefully check that they are not corroded or cracked before the move. There's nothing as disheartening - or as messy - as seeing your favourite potted cumquat tree smashed on the ground.

 

On the day of the move

House plants

  • Drain excess water from the pots, clean away snails, pests and spiders and generally tidy up the pots.
  • Pack your plants into the plastic lined boxes you've already prepared. If they contain breakable pots, make sure to tell your professional removalists, or those helping you with your move.
  • Larger pots should be placed in strong plastic bags to stop soil spillage. Wrap plastic around the foliage to prevent any unnecessary damage. Tape them firmly but not so tight that you 'suffocate' the plant.

Garden plants

It's quite acceptable to take a selection of cuttings and favourite plants with you - as long as you get permission from the new residents first.

  • Dig up the garden plants on the day of the move to ensure the greatest success in relocation.
  • Wrap the root ball in plastic sheeting and ensure the soil is moist. The best idea is to place pots into bin liner bags secured with a pest strip. They can be sealed for up to 6 hours.
  • Tie cane supports to larger plants to minimise the chance of 'snapping' when travelling.

 

At your new home

  • Although you'll have a lot of other things to worry about, it is important NOT to forget your plants. If you can't plant properly when you arrive, dig a hole and cover the roots to protect them until you have a chance to do the job properly.
  • Your new environment may be quite different from the previous environment your plants are used to. Test the soil with a pH kit to check if the soil is acid or alkaline.
  • Keep a close eye on your plants for several weeks after the move. Trees and larger plants may take up to a year to settle. Water and fertilise well until they are fully settled.

And remember... Enjoy your new garden environment. Get used to the new setting, climate or orientation of your garden, and take the opportunity to create a new landscape.